Howard Fineman ventures forth, and Chris Matthews responds in between servings of airborne spittle:


On the March 31 edition of MSNBC’s Hardball, discussing Sen. Barack Obama’s bowling performance at a March 29 campaign stop at Pleasant Valley Lanes in Altoona, Pennsylvania, MSNBC political analyst Howard Fineman asserted, “[I]f you can’t do something like that, you shouldn’t do it. He should have stuck to shooting hoops — which he’s very, very good at, by the way, and which translates racially, too, especially during the NCAA basketball tournament. Don’t do something you’ve never tried before in front of a national television audience, OK?” Addressing MSNBC political analyst Michelle Bernard, host Chris Matthews responded, “You know, Michelle — and this gets very ethnic, but the fact that he’s good at basketball doesn’t surprise anybody, but the fact that he’s that terrible at bowling does make you wonder.” While showing the video of Obama’s bowling, Matthews asserted, “[I]t isn’t the most macho form there.”

Wonder what, exactly? I’m really asking, because I have no idea what Matthews is wondering about.

I am glad to see our media is focusing on the important issues in the presidential campaign. Next up, does Barack Obama like fried chicken? And is it because he’s black? Because I hear black people LOVE fried chicken, and it might “translate racially.”

UPDATE: Forgive me if I think that the attempt to focus on Obama’s lack of bowling talent might be a way for some to deal with racial and gender anxiety about Obama’s ability to excel in other arenas. But it’s hard not to see it that way with comments like the ones above, and this one here:

During the March 31 edition of MSNBC’s Morning Joe, co-hosts Joe Scarborough and Willie Geist repeatedly mocked Sen. Barack Obama’s bowling performance — which Scarborough called “dainty” — at a March 29 campaign stop at Pleasant Valley Lanes in Altoona, Pennsylvania. Deriding Obama’s score, he said: “You know Willie, the thing is, Americans want their president, if it’s a man, to be a real man.” Scarborough added, “You get 150, you’re a man, or a good woman,” to which Geist replied, “Out of my president, I want a 150, at least.”

Later in the show, after NBC political analyst Harold Ford Jr. said that Obama’s bowling showed a “humble” and “human” side to him, Scarborough replied, “A very human side? A prissy side.”

It’s true. And has any film better confirmed bowlers as the paragon of masculinity better than The Big Lebowski:

Maybe Obama just doesn’t bowl well during Shabbas.

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